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  • The present suite by Jean Royère, created circa 1934, dates to a pivotal moment within the designer’s illustrious career when he first began to receive international renown. One of Royère’s earliest commissions was in 1933 when he designed the interior of the brasserie Le Carlton on the Champs-Élysées. The project received critical acclaim and considerable press coverage, which captured the attention of the furniture manufacturer and retailer Pierre Gouffé.
    "If all the talented decorators organized their publicity like [Royère], French decorative art would have, throughout the entire world, an influence of a whole other dimension." 
    —Pierre Gouffé

    The Gouffé firm was one of the largest and oldest furniture factories of the Faubourg, though in the early 1930s they were largely recreating period furniture rather than producing contemporary designs. In an effort to appeal to a larger clientele who wished to furnish their homes and apartments with modern designs, Gouffé expanded his business by hiring Jean Royère as the head of his contemporary furniture department. While Royère did not work exclusively with Gouffé, he did create a number of designs over an eight-year period which helped to accelerate his success and which he would return to for inspiration in the coming decades. By working with Gouffé —who frequently advertised their products, including chairs and sofas very similar to the present examples—Royère was able to gain greater financial independence. This early commercial success coincided with Royère’s presentations at annual design fairs in Paris, further expanding the designer’s clientele and popularity. 

     

    An apartment living room designed by Jean Royère, Paris, circa 1940. © 2021 Estate of Jean Royère / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
    An apartment living room designed by Jean Royère, Paris, circa 1940. © 2021 Estate of Jean Royère / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

    The refined silhouette of each piece in this suite, particularly the accentuated vaulted armrests, foreshadow the ways in which many of Royère’s later designs exhibited a sculptural quality. Variants of the present model armchair and sofa appeared in other projects by Royère throughout the 1940s and into the 1950s.

    • Condition Report

    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      Galerie Downtown François Laffanour, Paris
      Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2018

    • Literature

      "Meubles à surprises," Le Décor d'aujourd'hui, April-May 1937, pp. 34-35
      Galerie Jacques Lacoste and Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Royère, Volume 1, Paris, 2012, pp. 282, 284
      Galerie Jacques Lacoste and Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Royère, Volume 2, Paris, 2012, p. 45 for the sofa
      Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean Royère, Paris, 2017, p. 71 for the armchair

    • Artist Biography

      Jean Royère

      French • 1902 - 1981

      Jean Royère took on the mantle of the great artistes décorateurs of 1940s France and ran with it into the second half of the twentieth century. Often perceived as outside of the modernist trajectory ascribed to twentieth-century design, Royère was nonetheless informed by and enormously influential to his peers. Having opened a store in Paris in 1943 before the war had ended, he was one of the first to promote a new way of life through interior decoration, and his lively approach found an international audience early on in his career.

      In addition to commissions in Europe and South America, Royère had a strong business in the Middle East where he famously designed homes for the Shah of Iran, King Farouk of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan. The surrealist humor and artist's thoughtful restraint that he brought to his furniture designs continue to draw admiration to this day.

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Property of an International Collector, Curated by Joseph Dirand

31

Sofa and pair of armchairs

circa 1934
Oak, fabric upholstery.
Sofa: 31 x 70 x 32 in. (78.7 x 177.8 x 81.3 cm)
Each armchair: 28 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 32 in. (72.4 x 74.9 x 81.3 cm)

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$120,000 - 180,000 

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

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212-940-1268

Design

New York Auction 7 December 2021